After our recent announcement, we have received various complaints and backlash. Our team has tried our best to take each submission with a grain of salt. However, we believe it’s about time to clear the air. Complaints and “suggestions” such as hiring more staff, accepting volunteers, etc, demonstrate a clear misunderstanding of how our site operates.
Strudel Cafe started off as nothing more than a small farming simulator created by a few friends. Over the years, it has grown into what it is today, and it has become a passion project that we all hold near and dear to our hearts. Due to the fact we have accumulated so many members since our inception, it’s natural that our newer members may not know who we are, or how our operation works.
Our development team consists of only three members: an artist, a back-end developer, and a front-end developer. The website you see today has been created by these three members. Occasionally, when we are able to afford it, we will hire out contractors to help with the art (such as the background banners for our NPCs.) In the beginning, we had some volunteers to help with various tasks around the site. Over the years, those tasks have been delegated to two members who we pay out as contract members.
Strudel Cafe receives funding from Patreon and MYO sales. We have foregone intrusive ads to improve our player’s experience. We want our game to remain free to all players, which means that the funding we receive is minimal. The funding we receive goes first and foremost towards our approval staff who keep the Activities and Masterlist approvals running. After paying out our approval staff, payment goes towards site hosting. We then pay the appropriate taxes and legal fees. Afterwards, what remains is allotted to the three developers. For full transparency, we currently receive about $1.5k a month. We’re extremely grateful for the support we receive, however, after paying out our contractors and other necessary expenditures, we do not have enough leftover to split amongst ourselves. We have all agreed to work on the site regardless. However, in this current economic climate, we have to prioritize our main work obligations. We surely do not have enough money in our budget to bring on more staff members.
As mentioned in our recent announcement, we only have one developer who has access to the backend. Bug reports cannot simply be answered by volunteers. They need to be resolved from the backend. This is a LOT for one person to handle. A majority of bugs we receive are not game-breaking. Game-breaking bugs take priority so we can continue to provide a pleasant gaming experience. Giving volunteers access to the backend would be a massive threat to the security of our website and users.
It is important for us to create a project that we can be proud of; that includes paying any of our contributing members a reasonable wage for their work. The three developers have formed a legal agreement to work on this website as a start-up. We consent and understand that our work may go unpaid. However, we are not willing to bring on more workers under those terms. We are not a triple A company: we are three friends with a shared dream.
We are not asking for more funding. We intend to keep the game free. We update the games when we can. This entire project is a passion project among three friends. However, with increasing demands and expectations over the years, that passion is fizzling out. We are burnt out. We are tired. Each of us have been struggling with mental and physical health issues, as well as caregiver obligations. We still love this project and have poured hours of our free time into working on it. All we ask for from our players is patience and understanding. Our website still hosts multiple games that can be enjoyed every day. However, as we have grown, it is no longer sustainable for us to put out constant updates at the expense of our own wellbeing. There has been increasing demand for new features to keep our audience engaged, but it is only natural for someone’s interest in a game to rise and fall over the years. We are honored to have members that have stuck with us regardless. It’s for the members that find joy in our creation that we continue working on this project.